2011F MAT240 Algebra I

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Course Information

Official description: MAT240H1

Instructor: Marco Gualtieri

Teaching Assistants: Brandon Hanson and Peter Crooks

Class schedule: Tuesday 11am-1pm and Thursday 3-4pm in Ramsey Wright Labs, room 110, starting Sept 13th.

Tutorial schedule: Thursday 4-6, RW 110 if your ID ends in even #, RW 117 otherwise, Starting Sept. 22

TA Office hours: In BA6283, Wednesday 3-4PM and Thursday 10-11 AM Starting Sept. 21.

Instructor office hours: Tuesdays 1-2pm after the class, at BA6260.

Course Outline

The course outline is available here.


You may want to use LaTeX to type up your assignment. That's why I provide the .tex file for you. You might try this service if you want to try it out quickly.

Assignment 1 is due Sept. 22 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

Assignment 2 is due Sept. 29 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

Assignment 3 is due Oct. 6 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

Assignment 4 is due Oct. 13 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

Assignment 5 is due Oct. 27 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

   Notes on Matrices PDF

Assignment 6 is due Nov. 3 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

   Applied linear algebra: [An enhanced approach to linear operators]

Assignment 7 is due Nov. 10 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

Assignment 8 is due Nov. 17 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX] Correction to last problem: assume the vector space is finite-dimensional, otherwise the result is not true.

   Watch this for the huge math error: [[1]]
   Face recognition as an eigenvalue problem: [Eigenfaces]

Assignment 9 is due Nov. 24 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]

   Notes on the Jordan canonical form PDF

Assignment 10 is due Dec. 1 in your tutorial at 4:10pm. PDF [TeX]


It is **not necessary** to buy this or any other textbook, as the topics we cover in class can be easily found in any of the other free books, as well as elsewhere online, e.g. Wikipedia.

Main textbook: The main book is

Linear Algebra Done Right, Axler.

Other useful textbooks:

Linear Algebra Done Wrong, Treil.
Linear Algebra, Hoffman and Kunze.
Linear Algebra, Friedberg, Insel, Spence.
Linear Algebra -- wiki textbook
Linear Algebra, Hefferon.
Linear Algebra via Exterior Products, Winitzki.
Linear Algebra and Its Applications, Strang.
Linear algebra and multidimensional geometry, Sharipov

Question site

The question site for this course is located here.

Join the site, and enter your full name where it asks you to. The TAs and I will be there regularly to answer questions, and your classmates will hopefully do the same. The forum has no impact on grades at all.

Procedure if you have a question: Ask in Class » Ask in Tutorials or on the question site » TA office hours » Instructor office hours.


Marking scheme

  • 20% Term test PDF on October 18, 11AM-1PM, location Galbraith building room 404 (even ID#) and 405 (odd ID#).
  • 50% Final exam on December 20, 2011 9AM-12PM in BR200 (Room 200, Brennan Hall, St. Michael's College, 81 St. Mary Street [2nd floor])
  • 30% 10 homework assignments

The final results of the class: 88 registered students, Average 74.74, Median 77.62, StdDev 22.97, Min 14.90, Max 106.70


Assignments are posted on this page, and will be due in the tutorials. Assignments are marked by the TAs. All students (including those who join the course late) will receive a mark of 0 on each assignment not handed in by the deadline; but, your worst two assignments will not count. I encourage you to discuss the assignments with other students, so long as you write up your own solutions. Again, no late assignments will be accepted -- please hand in what you have.

No B.S. Bonus

If you write absolutely nothing false on an assignment (including "trivial" numerical errors) you will be awarded a 10% bonus. This is intended to disincentivize the writing of utter nonsense.

Term Test

A student who misses the term test without providing a valid reason (for example, a doctor’s note) within one week of the test will receive a mark of 0 on the term test. There will be no make-up term test. If a student misses the term test for a valid reason, the weight of the problem sets will increase to 35% and the weight of the final exam to 65%.

Final Exam

The average for the final exam (81 exams) was 78.75 with a std dev 19.78 and median 85.00. The marks are not adjusted in any way and there were no bonuses.


Very simple: if you plagiarize your assignment, you will be in the hands of the university administration. It will not end well. TAs have an uncanny ability to spot plagiarism.

How to do well in this class

This class is about training your mind to think in a modern mathematical way; it is like learning a language: you need to practice. In addition to the lectures, you should be spending at least 4-5 hours a week thinking about the material, reading the suggested texts, and meditating upon the nature of n-dimensional space.

Accessibility Needs

If you require accommodations for a disability, contact Accessibility Services: email webpage.

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